GIRL POWER: 8 totally inspiring books for toddler girls

GIRL POWER: 8 totally inspiring books for toddler girls

Story-time. It's a precious thing. For me it was one of those bedtime rituals like "Brush your teeth."...but so much better.

Story-time was filled with my brother and I warring over who's favorite would be read, listening to my Dad try to do different voices for characters (Mom was definitely more skilled), and the warm, sloppy comfort of us all piled into bed together. It's 35+ years later and I still cherish these moments. 

Books are powerful, magical things.

They show the world...and new ones. For kids they feed curiosity, imagination and connection. Few things are sweeter than reading a story to your favorite toddler. And, research shows that reading to young children boosts their cognitive functions in tons of ways (#WINNING). 

(Don't worry -- > Our list of top book picks for 3-6 year olds is below!) 

CAUTION. Not all books are created equal. 

I can’t tell you how many children’s books I’ve picked up and thrown down because the underlying messaging was down-right awful, especially for girls. 

 awful worst book for girls barbie i can be a computer engineer

Not all are as obvious as the 2014 Barbie: I can be a Computer Engineer fiasco — where you think Barbie is going to learn code and be an engineer but Mattel completely forks that opportunity and instead the book tells girls they aren’t smart enough and to get boys to code for them. (Seriously. I can’t make this stuff up.) Even a cute story can be a sandwich of delightful adventures with a thin slathering of revolting on the inside. 

Perhaps it’s no surprise but research shows that kids books from 1900’s to 2000 are almost twice as likely to feature a male hero than a female heroine (the study includes questionable characters like Cinderella & Snow White as heroes).

Thankfully, gender representation in kids books is getting better. More books are featuring girls as so much more than pretty princesses or damsels in distress: they are builders, makers, leaders, engineers, explorers, heroes and ninja warriors. They are comfortable in their own skin. 

A few key questions we use to evaluate kid stories: 

  • Are lead characters good role models?
  • How do the key characters treat those who are not like them? 
  • Does this story inspire kids to grow and face challenges in positive ways?
  • Will it inspire girls to explore, lead or pursue science & technology?
  • Would this book help kids to identify with under-represented groups (race, gender & backgrounds)?

BTW: We are not anti-princess. In fact, there are several princess books in our book collection HERE. Each one blows-up gender stereotypes instead of reinforcing them. These are princesses you’d want to Interstellar Cinderella and Dangerously Ever After 


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to see ALL our favorite books for awesome little girls


   - HERE ARE THE TOP 8 -    


Strong is the New Pretty

strong is new pretty book with photo of athletic kind girls
This book is first on our list for good reason. Simply put, you should buy it. In every metric we can think of, Strong Is The New Pretty blows us away. It's real girls sharing their wisdom and strength in their own words with stunning photos that capture their essence in-the-moment. It's simple and totally inspirational, strong, bold, kind, gritty, fabulous, wacky and heartfelt. This book should be in every girl's room. 

--> Click here to see Strong Is The New Pretty on Amazon.

Rosie Revere, Engineer // Ada Twist, Scientist

ada twist scientist and rosie revere engineer book covers
This one is a two-fer since we couldn't choose just one! The books by Andrea Beaty & David Roberts are such gems.

If you're looking for a great read to inspire your budding scientist? We are huge fans of Ada Twist and her inquisitive ways. She's always asking why and experimenting on the world around her with messy and fun results. No surprise that it's #1 New York Times Bestseller.

Then there's Rosie. She's always building things and wants to be a great inventor like her great-great-Aunt, Rosie the Riveter. It's a clever story about building things, experimenting and being brave enough to fail while creating new things.

Ada’s Ideas: The Story of Ada Lovelace, the World's First Computer Programmer

My goodness -- this book  is gorgeous! It's about the life and work of Ada Lovelace (the first computer scientist & programmer). If you want to inspire a child and nurture her inquisitive mind, this book is a keeper. It's a perfect blend of picture book and biography, one that's easy to get lost in. 

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls

goodnight stories for rebel girls cover and illustrations girl power best books
This book is the most crowdfunded, original book in history. Go girls! Even better? These bedtime stories  are the kind we should be reading to all girls (and boys). 

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls has 100 true stories about the lives of extraordinary women around the world. Each one is told like a fairytale and paired with a portrait by an artist. There's no shortage of role models from all walks of life. It's pretty dang hard not to love what is inside it's folds. We see this book being a spark that encourages little girls to learn more about amazing women in history and dream big for themselves. 


Mae Among the Stars

This picture book is a real treasure. Not only is it magical to look at, it's inspired by real-life Astronaut Mae Jemison as. Mae was the first African American woman to travel in space. It shares the power of curiosity and determination. We love the hope that's inside it's star-filled pages.

Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean's Most Fearless Scientist

Who doesn't love a totally FIN-tastic story? This is the real life story of how Eugenie Clark became the "Shark Lady." A little girl who dreamed of doing work in science and nature grew into a woman who's fascination for sharks (and fearlessness) drove her to became a world-renowned marine biologist.
Her work with sharks helped people to understand these fierce creatures. It's also awarded the "Best Children's Book of 2017" by Parents Magazine.

What Do You Do with an Idea

what do you do with an idea book


This New York Times bestseller is one of our all-time-favorites. We recommended it for kids and adults alike. For us, this is clearly a book that translates to all ages.

Now, the key figure in this story isn't a little girl, it's an idea and the power of an idea. Beautifully written and illustrated, we see how scary it can be to try (or even think) something new, but also how we can grow and nurture those ideas to create truly amazing things. At it's core, this story can help inspire girls to push forward against adversity, spark their ingenuity, and lay seeds of resilience. All very good things!

--> See What Do You Do With An Idea on Amazon


Little Kunoichi the Ninja Girl
best book for fierce toddler girl little kunoichi the ninja
Pow! Wham! And, a dash of mindfulness. 
This delightful book is about a ninja girl in training who isn't really all that good at ninja skills. Turns out that the
 life of a little ninja isn't all fun and games (even if there are a lot of kicks)! 

We love the underlying message that you can work toward being great; that practice and friends can help you to succeed when things are hard. Girls will love the humor  and gorgeous watercolors that dance throughout this fierce little book. 



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